At Tuesday’s hearing of the House Committee on Appropriations, Education Undersecretary Alain Pascua told lawmakers that of this amount, ₱33 billion will be for the purchase of laptops and another ₱4 billion for 12 months data connectivity.
The Department of Education (DepEd) will need ₱37 billion to provide all teachers laptops and data connectivity, two of their most needed tools as the country continues to implement distance learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know the direction, we know where to go… but always at the end of the day, it’s always the amount of funds needed for these programs [that] are obviously lacking at this time,” he said.
Broken down, 211,000 units under the 2019 budget had been handed out; 36,676 laptops from last year are currently being distributed; and 65,683 units from this year are being procured.
At present, Pascua said there are laptops that were already distributed, being distributed, and still being procured. All in all, he noted that 97% of teachers in the country will be covered.
In addition, 40,000 laptops were also purchased through the Bayanihan 2 and will be delivered, the education official also said.
Pascua, however, emphasized that the provision of devices is only one aspect of the program. Another issue to address is connectivity, which is mainly the duty of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
He said the DICT is the one responsible to establish infrastructure of data and internet connectivity across the country.
Pascua added that DepEd cannot impose what should be done, but the agency is also looking for solutions to the problem.